Sleeping With A Baby On The Chest On The Couch

Last Update:

Sleeping With A Baby On The Chest On The Couch

Nothing nicer than napping on the couch and your newborn sleeping on your chest. Parents often wonder if sleeping with a baby on the chest on the couch is safe. And the answer is not really, it can be dangerous especially for your newborn baby.

While the baby is lying on your chest and napping there is a possibility to move its head forward and close the airways. The baby can move and reach from your chest to the mattress thus can also get stuck between the blankets, sheets, mattress, or even the protective backrest. 

All of these things can close your baby’s airways and cause suffocation. Newborns in that period, which are the first three to five months, are not strong enough and cannot move their heads.

Their weak necks can hardly move their heads, so suffocation can occur. It is also dangerous when babies sleep with their parents because there’s a possibility that parents will move during the night and depress the baby.

In order to avoid that, it is best to be attentive and watch your baby sleep on your chest. After the little one is asleep, it is best to transfer it to its safe crib. If you have trouble sleeping with your baby crying when you place it in the crib, there are several ways to calm it down by learning certain sleeping habits in order to have a restless sleep. 

Babies are attached to their mother first and foremost, and when they feel that she is not next to them, crying can occur. Never make absolute silence while your baby is sleeping, it is enough to talk quietly in the next room so that the baby hears its mother’s voice. That is often enough for a peaceful and good sleep. 

The baby should have its own crib and even a room (if possible). Before going to bed, the baby should be calmed down by turning off all appliances from the TV to the computer, and then bathing if necessary, putting on clean diapers, feeding, and putting them to sleep. 

As soon as the baby starts to close its eyes, place it slowly into the crib and caress it a little more to solidify the sleep. The baby should be on its back and there should be nothing in its environment that could endanger the baby’s airways. Sleeping bags are one of the solutions due to their comforts and safety.

Is it OK to hold a sleeping baby on your chest?

Yes it is ok to hold a sleeping baby on your chest, as long as you are awake and can monitor how your baby is behaving. If you are not monitoring the baby, and you fall asleep (which we are not judging since all the work the parents have) the baby can move its head so that it can close the airways into your chest or clothes. This can end up with a disaster of the baby’s suffocation.

Newborns are weak and find it difficult to lift and move their heads, so if they come in contact with a blanket, bedding, or toy they may have fatal consequences. As babies sleep restlessly, they can grab an object from above and dip their heads into it. Even if it might sound impossible, it is.

Therefore, be careful when sleeping with your newborn while it is on your chest. Research has shown that over a thousand babies die each year in the USA due to SIDS. Pay attention and when you are co-sleeping with your infant, it is enough to fall asleep and turn around carelessly, and end up with fatal consequences. 

Always remember that there should be nothing around the baby that could endanger it, e.g. the toy strips, rope, loose blankets, etc., which can wrap around its neck or even close its airways. The safest thing for your baby is in the crib without any unnecessary things. 

Is it bad for a newborn to sleep on a couch?

Sleeping With A Baby On The Chest On The Couch

It’s not bad, but it’s as dangerous as sleeping with the baby on the chest on the couch. The longer the newborn sleeps face down or on their stomach, the greater chance they will suffocate. The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines for safe sleep positions for babies, so you can read those to make sure your baby has a safe and sound sleep. 

It’s recommended to place your baby on the back or maybe to the side. These positions are preferred because sleeping on the stomach increases the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

Some parenting experts believe that parents should avoid using any form of baby bedding other than a firm mattress, while mattresses with vinyl covers are also not recommended as they can cause a bad odor.

The safest place for them is in their crib or bassinet with no blankets or toys that can cover their face! If you want to put the couch to sleep, to enjoy cuddling with it, you have to stay awake and take care of the newborn. 

After three or four months, even up to a year, the child will be able to turn around on its own. It can also reach for a toy or something that can be wrapped around its neck or close its airways, so the danger of SIDS is much lower at this point.

The safest place for your baby to sleep is her crib with a tight sheet and tight blanket or simply putting the infant in a sleeping bag. The baby should sleep on its back while the raised sides of its crib will give complete security and peaceful sleep to your newborn.

What’s the best way to put a baby to sleep?

Sleeping With A Baby On The Chest On The Couch

The best way to put your baby to sleep is by developing a routine. Every night at the same time start the preparations by turning off the TV or any other device to reduce the noise. Try not to have some games and plays that will increase its energy, but rather go for calming the baby down with the talk.

Make sure your baby is fed, it burped after the feeding, and it has clean diapers on. These are all signs of getting prepared for sleeping time. You can rock it gently in your arms, talk or even sing a song. When you notice that the baby is starting to close its eyes, gently lower the infant into the crib. 

It only takes a few more minutes to caress it slowly on the face or continue with the song for the baby to strengthen the sleep. Before leaving the room, check that nothing is within the reach of the baby, which could endanger its safety. 

You can only put a small plush doll in the crib that does not have ribbons or something that can be wrapped around the baby’s neck. If you are staying in the room next to the baby’s room, do not make absolute silence, but rather speak softly. Mother’s voice can calm the little one and give it a sense of security.


Sleeping with a baby on the chest on the couch sounds adorable, we can’t deny it. However, as we always put the child’s safety first, this type of sleeping is not advisable. It is manageable as long as the parent stays awake and monitors the baby’s behavior while sleeping. 

If both parent and the baby are sleeping, sudden infant death can happen due to suffocation. While the parent is sleeping, the baby can move around and due to its inability to remove things, the baby can suffocate from blocking its airways from parents clothes, a blanket that was on the baby, or even some toys that were around. 

Therefore, make sure you are always awake while the little one is restlessly napping on your chest or even on the couch. 

Photo of author


My name is Catherine. I'm a Mom and one of the avid writers working on HerScoop!